The malachite kingfisher (Corythornis cristatus) is a river kingfisher which is widely distributed in Africa south of the Sahara. It is largely resident except for seasonal climate-related movements.

This is a small kingfisher, 13 cm (5.1 in) in length. The general colour of the upper parts of the adult bird is bright metallic blue. The head has a short crest of black and blue feathers, which gives rise to the scientific name. The face, cheeks, and underparts are rufous and white patches are on the throat and rear neck sides.

The bill is black in young birds and reddish-orange in adults; the legs are bright red. Sexes are similar, but juveniles are a duller version of the adult.

This species is common to reeds and aquatic vegetation near slow-moving water or ponds. The flight of the malachite kingfisher is rapid, with the short, rounded wings whirring until they appear a mere blur. It usually flies low over water.

The bird has regular perches or stands from which it fishes. These are usually low over the water. It sits upright, its tail pointed downwards. It drops suddenly with a splash and usually returns at once with a struggling captive.

Large food items are beaten on a bough or rail; small fish and insects are promptly swallowed. A fish is usually lifted and carried by its middle, but its position is changed, sometimes by tossing it into the air, before it is swallowed head downwards. Fish, aquatic insects, and crustaceans are eaten.

The nest is a tunnel in a sandy bank, usually over water. Both birds excavate. Most burrows incline upward before the nesting chamber is reached.

Three or four clutches of three to six round, white eggs are placed on a litter of fish bones and disgorged pellets.

The call of this kingfisher is then a short shrill seek. The breeding song is a chuckling li-cha-cha-chui-chui.

The malachite kingfisher was first described by the German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas in 1764 and given the binomial name Alcedo cristata.

A closely related species in Madagascar, the Madagascar malachite kingfisher, or Malagasy kingfisher, (Corythornis vintsioides), has a black bill and greenish crest, and is not quite as dependent on water as the African species. It is otherwise similar in plumage and behaviour to the more widespread species. Both the São Tomé kingfisher and the Príncipe kingfisher are usually considered subspecies, but are sometimes considered distinct species.
Malachite Kingfisher
Date Location Count
2021-02-08 18:15Parque de N´Batonha (Lagoa do PNUD)2
2021-02-06 15:45Ebi Mangrove1
2021-02-08 16:08Brenu Beach--grasslands1
2021-02-07 07:37Densu Delta 2
2021-02-07 06:20Densu Delta Protected Area3
2021-01-30 13:41São Tomé--Ponte Yô Grande1
2021-01-30 08:22São Tomé--Praia Melão1
2021-02-10 15:00Queen Elizabeth II NP--Kazinga Channel Boat Trip3
2021-02-10 08:30Queen Elizabeth II NP--Kasenyi Track2
2021-02-14 09:05Ndali Lodge1
2021-02-14 09:35Top of the World Trail1
2021-02-19 07:15Queen Elizabeth II NP--Lake Bunyampaka2
2021-02-09 16:22Lake Kamweru1
2021-02-22 10:03Bigodi Swamp1
2021-02-20 07:49Nyabarongo River @ RN11
2021-02-21 07:52Inyange Factory Wetland2
2021-02-15 08:18Lake Mburo NP--Nyarutegura River Mouth1
2021-02-21 09:01Akagera Np -- Mohana Plain and Lake Rwanyakazinga Picnic Site1
2021-02-10 07:00Lake Mburo NP8
2021-01-31 20:23Nkima Forest Lodge7
2021-02-11 07:35Mabamba Swamp7
2021-02-08 08:30Mabamba Swamp--Main channel7
2021-02-26 15:31Entebbe Botanical Garden1
2021-01-31 15:00Source of the Nile Recreation Beach6
2021-01-31 06:35Lake Simbi1
2021-01-30 22:28Ondango Swamp, Kendu Bay2
2021-01-31 11:58Lake Victoria--Kendu Bay1
2021-02-04 07:05Kisumu Waterfront (incl. Ndunga Swamp, Hippo Pt. and Impala Park)
2021-02-23 14:00Maasai Mara NR--Mara Triangle4
2021-02-21 09:33Chamo Lake1
2021-01-30 15:30Lake Baringo--Inshore Cliffs and surrounds1
2021-02-22 13:42Lake Baringo--West Shore (incl. Baringo Club and Robert's Camp and airstrip)4
2021-01-31 06:40Lake Baringo (general)
2021-02-08 15:03Lake Awassa--United Africa Shebelle Hotel area1
2021-02-23 18:15Haile Resort1
2021-02-14 13:01Intaka Island2
2021-02-22 19:12Olorgesailie Archaeological Site1
2021-01-30 06:00South Luangwa NP--Mfuwe Lodge
2021-02-21 07:00Dulecha1
2021-02-21 07:06Nairobi NP
2021-02-20 10:11Dandora WTP, Ruai1
2021-02-06 07:36Lake Duluti1
2021-01-30 06:04Kisolanza The Old Farm House1
2021-02-01 11:57Pilanesberg NP--Manyane1
2021-02-09 09:02Kgomo-Kgomo1
2021-02-05 07:30Zaagkuildrift Rd (Please be more specific; Do not log Kgomo-Kgomo birds here.)1
2021-02-13 06:25Nylsvley Nature Reserve--Vogelfontein2
2021-02-12 17:19Diepsloot Nature Reserve1
2021-02-17 11:45Norscot Koppies Kingfisher Nature Reserve1
2021-02-21Modderfontein Reserve1
2021-02-14 14:00Rietvlei Nature Reserve
2021-01-31 16:50Thokoza Wetland1
2021-02-11 10:20Ramisi Sugar Dam5
2021-02-11 07:15Tiwi Swamp4
2021-02-07 08:40Nguuni Nature Sanctuary1
2021-02-06 07:31Arabuko-Sokoke NP--Kenya Forest Service1
2021-02-14 10:57Lower Tana River Delta
2021-02-13 06:37Sabaki River Estuary
2021-02-11 05:13Singita Ebony Lodge2
2021-02-09 05:22Mala-Mala Game Reserve1
2021-02-07 16:04Wakkerstroom area (Please be more specific)1
2021-02-08 09:14Kruger NP--Skukuza Golf Club1
2021-02-06 21:06Kruger NP--Skukuza Camp1
2021-02-13 14:54Karkloof--Conservancy1
2021-02-21 08:16Macaneta-- Wetland, dune forests and coast1
2021-02-14 08:47Tala Private GR1
2021-02-19 07:02KwaDukuza--Sappi Stanger hide
2021-02-09 13:10Kosi Forest Lodge
2021-02-05 10:30Phinda GR2